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Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Duke Blue Devils

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (15-9) at Duke Blue Devils (21-3)

NCAA Basketball: Saturday, February 15th, 2020 at 4:00 pm ET (Cameron Indoor Stadium)

Line and Odds: Duke Blue Devils -12.5 Over/Under: 151

Free ESPN NCAA Basketball Picks Duke Blue Devils vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are trying to play their way into an NCAA tournament berth. The Atlantic Coast Conference is having a down year, which likely means they won’t get as many teams in the tournament as they usually would. If the season ended today, they’d probably only get about 4 ACC teams in the NCAA tournament. With Notre Dame on the outside of the bubble looking in, it is important for Notre Dame to end the season with a strong showing.

Notre Dame is 15-9 overall, with a 6-7 ACC record. They are currently 7th in the ACC standings, 1 game behind the North Carolina State Wolfpack and the Syracuse Orange. When you comb through Notre Dame’s schedule, it is difficult to find any quality wins on their resume. Every team they’ve beaten already has 10+ losses on the season. Wins over Pittsburgh and Syracuse aren’t the kind of victories that tend to impress the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee. There are also bad losses on their resume like North Carolina and Boston College.

Notre Dame has been playing with a sense of urgency over the past 2 weeks as they’ve tried to improve their standing. Coach Mike Brey’s Fighting Irish had won 4 straight games before an overtime loss at Virginia on Tuesday. ND secured victories over Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, and Clemson. The UVA loss was a setback as it would’ve been their best win of the season. It was a 50-49 loss in which the overtime score was 3-2. If they can beat Duke on Saturday, the UVA loss won’t hurt nearly as much.

Duke

Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke Blue Devils have a legitimate shot at winning the national championship this year. Granted, this is the type of comment you can make every single year about Duke. Last year’s team entered the NCAA tournament as favorite, but failed to make it to the Final Four. This year’s squad is currently listed as the team with the 2nd-best odds to win the NCAA tournament (8/1), behind the Kansas Jayhawks (7/1).

If the season ended today, they would likely get a #2 seed in the Big Dance. In the most recent pre-tournament seedings released by the NCAA selection committee, they did, in fact, give them a #2 seed. However, with a strong end to the season and a deep ACC tournament run, a #1 seed is not out of the question. Duke has a 21-3 overall record and a 11-2 record in ACC play. They are ranked #7 in the most recent Associated Press Top 25 Poll. The Blue Devils’s 11-2 ACC record is good for 2nd-place in the conference, a half-game behind the first place Louisville Cardinals who are 12-2 in the ACC.

Duke was able to separate themselves from the 3rd-place Florida State Seminoles on Monday. Duke and Florida State were tied for 2nd in the ACC standings before they met in Durham. The Blue Devils were able to snag the home win against the Seminoles 70-65. This was one of their 3 big signature wins along with victories over Kansas and Michigan State. With the relative weakness of the ACC, wins over teams like North Carolina don’t hold the value they would in ordinary year. Also, their 3 losses against Stephen F. Austin, Clemson, and Louisville, hurt them in the race for a #1 seed. They are competing against teams like San Diego State and Gonzaga who have 1 loss or fewer, so it is important for Duke to avoid any more slip-ups.

Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends

Fighting Irish

Notre Dame is 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games.

The total has gone OVER in 6 of Notre Dame’s last 8 games.

Notre Dame is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games against Duke.

Blue Devils

Duke is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games.

The total has gone OVER in 7 of Duke’s last 9 games.

Duke is 6-0 SU in their last 6 games.

ESPN NCAA Basketball Scores Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Duke Blue Devils

I’m taking the Duke Blue Devils to cover the -12.5 in this match-up. I think Duke is a bit undervalued by the oddsmakers and betting market here, because of their recent lack of success against the spread. On Monday, Duke was a 7.5/8 point favorite against Florida State. Since it was a #7 vs. #8 match-up, the vast majority of the money came in on Florida State to cover the spread. In fact, over 90% of the money was on FSU. The oddsmakers really needed Duke to cover, but they only won by 5 points. In the two games before that, Duke also failed to cover reasonably large numbers. I think this line is shaded down by the bookmakers, so this is a ‘buy low’ proposition for me. Duke is ranked 5th in adjusted offensive efficiency and adjusted defensive efficiency. There is a significant gap between Notre Dame and Duke on both ends of the floor. Notre Dame doesn’t have the ability to deal with Vernon Carey, Jr., Tre Jones, and Cassius Stanley. The line should be closer to Duke -14, so I’ll take the value on the Blue Devils here.

Duke Blue Devils -12.5

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